WRITTEN ON 8 May, 2020.
Langley, B.C., — There are a number of common human biases that challenge sound judgments during times of crisis: a fear of the unknown, personal embarrassment, and the ramifications of an invisible disease. Following the strong initial reactions to such a challenging and difficult time, Dr. Michael Dadson, a Canadian Certified Counsellor registered in Langley, B.C., advises that awareness of judgmental pitfalls might help ensure things stay on the right path.
In response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Dadson cautions:
“During any crisis, timely, and sometimes life-altering, decisions must be made, requiring an extreme amount of sound judgment under uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different.”
Anxiety and the Fear of the Unknown
Threats like the novel coronavirus trigger our fear of the unknown. Anxiety is fear of the unknown; it is an impending sense of uncertainty, or a stress response to a perceived threat. As a clinical counsellor and therapeutic foster parent of over 30 years, Dadson has observed and extensively studied the nature of the relationship between brain and body, which are often caught up in sensations and feelings of tension, or a sense of apprehension that keeps the mind locked into a cycle of excessive worry, anticipation and panic.
“Threats like COVID-19 are mysterious because they are unknown, but the initial mystery soon fades away. Repeated reminders linked to the situation are important to avoid complacency.”
Embarrassment is a painful but important emotional state. Dadson suggests that its purpose is to make people feel badly about their social or personal mistakes as a form of internal (or societal) feedback, so that they learn not to repeat the error. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, people have been encouraged to engage in certain behaviors, like not touching their faces, but people do so reflexively. Some may see lapses as a personal failure, and may dwell on these in unhealthy ways.
Dadson’s clinical counselling experience suggests that highlighting a popular public figure’s own shortcomings may help when it comes to coping with personal embarrassment; for example, pointing out one of many celebrities who have tested positive as a way of mitigating the stigma. Dadson states that we should remind our loved ones that momentary lapses are natural, and should be followed by returning to best behaviors.
While the coronavirus pandemic is upending normal life for everyone, it poses a particular threat for those with invisible illnesses — chronic illnesses or conditions that aren’t always obvious to other people but make navigating day-to-day life a challenge. Many who live with an invisible illness rely on the availability of doctors, pharmacies, and social activities to make their lives as normal as possible. With stores closing and people practicing social distancing, the physical and emotional health of invisible illness sufferers could be in jeopardy.
Social distancing and isolation exacerbate chronic psychiatric disorders. Not only are patients under risk of losing the mental support required, their issues may also be perceived as less critical in comparison to the ubiquitously looming event of COVID-19. Dadson suggests that increased mental health care and communication supportive of a healthy home environment are not only important, but necessary for the wellbeing of these people. As a Registered Clinical Counsellor, Dadson puts this advice into practice by offering phone and video counselling sessions at reduced, case-by-case rates through Gentle Currents Therapy, a Langley-based counselling clinic.
Dr. Michael Dadson’s certifications include:
Dr. Michael Dadson, Ph.D.
Title: Senior Clinical Director of Practice, Gentle Currents Therapy – Counselling and Neurofeedback Therapy
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLnx2V8zK9VEg60V5NH2fDQ
Specializing in trauma, anxiety, and depression, Michael Dadson, Ph.D., is a registered clinical counsellor and Senior Clinical Director of Practice at Gentle Currents Therapy, a Langley, B.C.-based counselling clinic. With expertise in trauma, stress, anxiety, and discrimination, Dadson’s clinical counselling can talk about the mental health impacts of anxiety about coronavirus and social isolation, how to handle anxiety about the coronavirus, and how to address issues related to helping children deal with traumatic events.
Michael Dadson has provided clinical treatment to individuals with a range of diagnoses, specializing in trauma and PTSD, anxiety and depression, male psychology, and relationship counselling for adults, adolescents, and children.
Michael Dadson and his wife, Jeanette Dadson, have also been assisting children with special needs and their families for over 30years. As a Level III (3) therapeutic foster parent, Michael Dadson has worked with special needs foster children, and has been contracted through Intensive Child Care Resources Vancouver (ICCR). As a therapeutic foster parent, Dadson has lived and worked with Caucasian, Afghanistani, and First Nations children who have ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, FASD, major brain injuries and strokes.
Contact Registered Clinical Counsellor Michael Dadson today for information, advice, and insights on COVID-19 mental health implications, risks, community response, and talking to children.
Dr. Michael Dadson
Gentle Currents Therapy Counselling and Neurofeedback